Paramus—Yeshivat Noam’s Project H.O.P.E. (Helping Organizations Provide Essentials),a Jewish Teen Philanthropy Program run by Areyvut, recently completed its fourth year.
During the program, grant and allocation process, the participants who are in 7th grade were involved in meaningful discussions and learned a great deal about how they can help the local community as well as their brothers and sisters in Israel.The H.O.P.E. participants decided to focus their funding efforts on organizations dealing with hunger and poverty and had a challenging time making choices during the selection process. They carefully evaluated each application, engaged in discussions and voted to send their distributions to several organizations including: $400 to Habitat for Humanity of Bergen County towards their Hurricane Sandy Repair Rebuild Restore Program in Little Ferry; $360 to Tomchei Shabbos of Bergen County to support their weekly deliveries and $240 to Afikim towards their after school program.
At the check presentation, Rabbi Chaim Hagler, Principal at Yeshivat Noam, told the participants that “while H.O.P.E. is coming to a close, you always need to be actively involved in addressing the needs of the community” and that as Jews “helping those in need is of critical importance.”
The program had a profound impact on the participants, their families and the agencies they funded. “Participating in H.O.P.E. gave me the necessary skills to spend and allocate my money wisely. I gained an appreciation for how lucky I am that I have what I need” explained participant Akiva Lipshitz.
Sara Prager, whose daughter Meira participated, was “so grateful to Yeshivat Noam and Areyvut for giving my daughter a chance to learn about the importance of giving tzedakah and to understand how tzedakah impacts an organization and the people they serve. Giving tzedakah in such a thoughtful way is an experience we hope she will be fortunate enough to repeat throughout her life.”
“It is inspiring to consistently witnessthe students’ empathy with their neighbors who are less fortunate than they are, and then to see that they act on that understanding to create positive change by working together,” said Jacey Raimondo, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity of Bergen County. “We can all learn a lesson from the students in the H.O.P.E. Program at Yeshivat Noam.”
According to Areyvut Founder and Director Daniel Rothner, the H.O.P.E. Program at Yeshivat Noam is one of close 100 Jewish Teen Philanthropy Programs throughout the country but is the only such program based in a day school in the area. Rothner explained,“We value our partnership with Yeshivat Noam and appreciate their commitment to implementing the H.O.P.E. Program and constantly infusing their curriculum and the school community with the core Jewish values of chessed, tzedakah and tikkun olam.”
By Daniel Rothner